Pop Art icon James Rosenquist exploded onto the scene in 1960 with his vivid, large-scale paintings. Trained as a painter of billboard signs, Rosenquist abstracted familiar imagery from advertising and pop culture through adjustments in scale and irrational juxtapositions that owe a debt to Surrealism. Though fragmented and overlapping, his images of spaghetti, Marilyn Monroe, hairdryers, and detergent boxes created visual narratives of American culture, at times with a political message. His most iconic painting, room-sized F-111, is a powerful deconstruction of the American dream. Rosenquist influenced a whole generation of painters, including David Salle.
In addition to being widely exhibited throughout the world and completing several major commissions, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum organized a full-career retrospective of Rosenquist's work in 2003, and he received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Acheivement in 1988.